Telia said it aims “to be the first in the world to bring 5G to partners and clients”, after claiming a European first with two trials showcasing the technology on a live, pre-commercial, public 5G network in Tallinn, Estonia.

In a press briefing Telia, alongside partners Ericsson and Intel, revealed it had provided a “high-speed 5G connection” via Wi-Fi to passengers on a commercial cruise ship, as well as displaying an industrial use case on a construction excavator (pictured) which it was able to remotely control via augmented reality (AR).

The trials follow another European first claimed by the Telia and Ericsson partnership, when the companies completed an outdoor test on a live pre-standard 5G network in Kista, Sweden in October 2016.

Both companies have spoken of their ambitions to bring 5G to customers in Stockholm and Tallinn in 2018.

Nordics and Baltics
During the briefing, Telia Estonia’s CTO Kirke Saar said the company remained confident of meeting its goals, while stating the Nordics and Baltics were best positioned to benefit from 5G because “they are the most digitalised regions in the world”.

“Showing capabilities for those markets is absolutely vital,” she said.

Saar also explained why Estonia, in particular, was chosen to complete the live network trial, and the value of showcasing a “real life 5G environment”.

“Estonia is a small site, but on the other hand, it has a very innovative mindset and that makes it the perfect place to test and launch new technologies.”

“Deploying these early 5G solutions is equally vital because it enables us to show how the various technologies integrate into different types of areas and in which type of environments it performs best,” she said.

5G comes to life
Revealing more details on the two use cases, Telia said the ship trial was conducted in partnership with Tallink, an Estonian shipping company.

Completed in September 2017 the trial, through a 5G-like connection, enabled Wi-Fi usage for 2,000 passengers on a ship while it was still docked in the harbour.

Meanwhile, the second trial showcased the potential value for the industrial sector, which is a widely touted benefit of 5G.

Conducted during an EU Digital Summit in Tallinn on 28 September, participants were able to experience remote control of machinery. In this case, an industrial excavator was operated using an AR remote control over a connection with low latency.

“This highlights the capabilities and opportunities 5G will bring to harsh or dangerous industrial settings,” Telia stated.

Sweden-based vendor Ericsson provided a pre-commerial 5G base station for the trial, while Intel used its 5G Mobile Trial Platform to provide millimetre wave connectivity.

Per Narvinger, head of customer unit, northern and central Europe at Ericsson, added the vendor was working with 36 operators globally on 5G, and trials such as these provided “valuable input” on its work in developing the technology.